It’s been four months since we experienced cuteness overload courtesy of a newborn baby rhinoceros born at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. The sweet little calf is a white rhinoceros — an endangered species that faces near-threatened status — and he’s been hanging behind the scenes with his mom, Kendi, since October.
But on Feb. 23, 4-month-old Ranger made his big public debut when he joined his herd at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and strutted his stuff for Disney World guests for the first time.
On his big day, Ranger joined the crash (the official name for a rhino herd) out on the savanna on Kilimanjaro Safaris. The attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom takes guests on an 18-minute “safari” in an open-air vehicle across the 110-acre Harambe Wildlife Preserve that’s home to 34 species of live animals, including Ranger’s herd of white rhinos.
You can see Ranger, who was named in honor of the wildlife rangers who work to protect endangered rhinos around the world, getting used to his little (or not so little) legs in this adorable video shared on YouTube by Disney.
Ranger has done a lot of growing since he was a newborn. He’s now approaching a whopping 600 pounds, more than four times his birth weight.
On his first day out on the savanna, Ranger got to know his “aunties,” rhinos Lola and Jao, and his mom kept a close watch over him.
Ranger and Kendi got plenty of much-needed downtime, too, said Scott Terrell, Director of Animal & Science Operations, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, in a post sharing the news on the Disney Parks Blog.
“Such an adventurous morning requires lots of energy, so there was plenty of nursing and napping going on, too,” Terrell said.
Terrell also shared memories of receiving the news of Ranger’s mom Kendi’s pregnancy, noting that, as the first calf in five years for Animal Kingdom’s white rhino herd, it was a big deal for the team that takes care of them.
“The keepers have eagerly cheered on Kendi and Ranger through each new developmental milestone,” Terrell said.
If you want to learn more about the white rhinos and other animals of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, they’re featured in a National Geographic docu-series, “The Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.” The eight-part series, narrated by Josh Gad, streams on Disney+ and takes viewers behind the scenes to tell stories about the care and conservation involved in giving a home to more than 5,000 animals and 300 species at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Animal Kingdom Lodge and The Seas with Nemo & Friends at EPCOT.
Congratulations to little Ranger on hitting this big milestone. We can’t wait to see what he does next!